Apr 28, 2021

The importance of dementia care training: “Put the person first, always”

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When care staff made it clear they wanted more on-site memory care training to support people living with dementia, Therapy Management Corporation (TMC) listened and committed to training staff across its entire organisation.

A year later, more than 650 care partners within TMC had received Dementia Capable Care training, a programme available at the Crisis Prevention Institute (CPI), and staff were feeling much more confident about their abilities.

TMC surveyed staff, and the resounding feedback was that those who had received training have been able to change the way they deliver care to people living with dementia, and that they also benefited.

Almost all that underwent the training (94%) said communication with staff about the needs of people living with dementia had also improved.

“The information provided in this training is also helping us to provide education to our staff on being able to provide better care for [the people we support] with dementia,” another participant noted.

Four out of every five (81%) said they felt “more confident” in creating care plans for the people they assist because of the training.

TMC measured four quality measures for people living with dementia: those who need help with daily activities, weight loss, medication use, and use of antipsychotic medication.

Dementia Capable Care Training – the course

CPIs Dementia Capable Care training is designed to provide carers with the knowledge and skills using an ‘enriched model of care’. This approach is evidence-based and is proven to mitigate the behavioural and psychological symptoms often associated with dementia that can lead to the use of restrictive practices, including the use of antipsychotics and sedatives, and environmental restrictions or physical restraint.

Dementia Capable Care’s enriched model of training teaches carers to use this model as a day-to-day approach for care and support.

The Dementia Capable Care Model and Dementia Capable Care training provides a simple, practical framework that care staff can use to deliver high-quality care and support.

The key elements of the Dementia Capable Care approach include:

  • Put the person first, always.
    The person is at the centre of support, with individuality and personhood as the primary focus of care.
    Personal information, such as personal, social and cultural history, personality, interests, daily routines, preferences and emotional triggers (including any history of trauma) are gathered and used to provide care and support that genuinely meets the person’s needs.
  • Cognitive level is well understood and integrated.
    Cognition is the primary determinant of a person’s level of independence. Through skilled observations and assessments, carers are shown how to identify the person’s cognitive level (stage of dementia), their challenges, and importantly, their capabilities.
  • Provide compensatory care.
    Carers learn how to compensate and support the cognitive challenges and enable continued use of remaining capabilities associated with each cognitive level.
    The training teaches carers how to adapt the care approach, the activity and the environment to build trust, agreement and interest, and to create the right level of challenge considering what the person can do and what is required/being asked.
  • Understand all behaviour is communication.
    The three important steps for mitigating behavioural and psychological distress are taught, including active prevention, sensitive intervention, as well as the importance of support and learning.
    Using a compensatory, non-restrictive approach helps carers to prevent and confidently respond in order to de-escalate distress, so that pharmacological and other coercive or restrictive practices are minimised.

The benefits for those living with dementia

The Dementia Capable Care training programme can have many benefits for people living with dementia, including:

  • Reduction in the frequency and severity of distress behaviours and the associated use of chemical or physical restraint.
  • Reduction in falls and health complications associated with higher levels of independence and life engagement. The cognitive and physical exercise benefits of remaining active in daily life activities are significant.
  • Improved quality of life and emotional wellbeing as personhood is honoured and prioritised.
  • Improved engagement with family and loved ones as care partners.
  • Increase in carer confidence to reduce distress behaviours that so often negatively impact the person in care and others.

Making a positive difference

TMC summed up the benefits of the training by saying, “We believe that Dementia Capable Care training has been a valuable resource for our team members, with positive impacts on our customers and, most importantly, the people who we support and who use our services.

 

They said the ‘train-the-trainer’ approach makes ongoing knowledge acquisition more sustainable within their organisation and provides the added benefit of an on-site instructor to guide and support staff to transfer their learning and effectively implement an ‘enriched model’ of support.

“We believe this training helps us live out our mission of making a positive difference in the lives of everyone we serve.”

To learn more about Crisis Prevention Institute’s training courses, click here.

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